Saturday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. DK says:

    David Von Drehle in WaPo, Republicans Stuck With Their Antiabortion Zealots:

    Access to abortion was not the only right protected by Roe v. Wade. The right of conservative politicians to make extreme promises to antiabortion hard-liners, and to pass grandstanding laws without fear they would ever be enforced, was sheltered as well. The end of Roe spells the beginning of accountability for politicians who indulged the fanatics.

    This reality is dawning on them. Roe was dead for only a few days before the first monstrous result was reported. A child of 10 in Ohio, raped at least two times, was denied access to an early-term abortion due to a “trigger law” passed by legislators who probably never imagined the unpopular measure would take force. Pandering to their radical base, the lawmakers served up a hard ban on abortion after just six weeks with no exception for rape or incest.

    The panic on the right was immediate and thunderous. The twin pillars of conservative orthodoxy, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, plunged in recklessly to question whether such a child existed. They couldn’t find her in their Twitter feeds. Their haste revealed a desperate hope that the brutal misogyny of the antiabortion base would not be so plainly demonstrated in such short order.

    In their rush, they forgot that stringent privacy laws protect the confidentiality of abuse victims and children; lack of details concerning a child rape victim is normal and laudable. Meanwhile, police went about their work, arrested the rapist and secured a confession.

    Fox News, PJ Media, the Wall Street Journal, and the Attorneys General of Ohio and Indiana likely defamed the hero doctor who saved a girl from Republicans’ radical forced birth extremism. Money is being raised on GoFundMe to sue them all, and for her protection. Thank you, Dr. Bernard.

    Shame on 21st century conservatives.

  2. Tony W says:

    One wonders what conspiracies will arise from the death of Ivana Trump by blunt force trauma to the torso, lying at the bottom of the stairs, just a short time before several Trump family members were set to testify in New York?

    Of course, it’s more likely she lost her balance wearing some ridiculous pair of 6″ heels, three sheets to the wind, and fell than it is that some family member hired a rental-thug to make it look like an accident. She’s seemingly irrelevant to the family business, but maybe we don’t know what we don’t know?

    One thing we do know though. Trump is fundraising on the death of his ex wife.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    Yesterday Matt B posted about the fetanyl exposure panic. Anne Laurie hit the same topic this morning at Balloon Juice. It’s well worth clicking through the Dan McQuade tweet to his article at Defector. A toxicologist had a lab accident and spilled a lot of fetanyl on his hand, complete with an abrasion. He recognized it as an opportunity, waited a couple minutes to wash up, and wrote a paper on what happened, which was nothing.

    McQuade also quoted Alex Pareene following up on a Kansas City TV stations story about a fetanyl contact overdose story,

    “We were telling the story of the person it happened to,” she said.
    “Well,” I asked, “what do you do when people with expertise tell you what a person says happened to them is impossible?”
    “People who weren’t there, you mean?” she responded.

    Then she hung up. McQuade then talks a little about the symbiotic relationship between cops and police beat reporters. I would add that cops love anything that makes their “blue line” job sound dangerous. Well anything that doesn’t hint their biggest cause of death lately has been not wearing masks to prevent COVID.

  4. CSK says:

    From MSNBC, via Raw Story:

    Apparently Pence didn’t rust Tony Ornato either.

  5. Kathy says:

    @Tony W:

    Man, those COVID vaccines really pack a punch!

    These days, it’s too easy to focus on one’s phone and fall down the stairs because you didn’t realize you’ve reached the first step (I’ve nearly fallen that way), or thought you’re already down when you’re a few steps up still.

    And a myriad other ways to misstep and fall, especially if there’s a carpet runner.

  6. CSK says:

    @Tony W:
    Oh, the kook sites were speculating yesterday that Ivana either died from the effecfts of the Covid vaccine or…she was the victim of Arkancide. Yes. That’s right. Hillary Clinton had Ivana killed, although no one said exactly why.

    No idea is too outlandish for them to promote.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    The sports, e-magazine, the The Athletic has been around for a while, pretty regularly I’d see references to what appear to be interesting articles, but I was never really tempted subscribe. Then the NYT’s bought the company and a couple of weeks ago offered it as a benefit for subscribers to the newspaper at no cost. Which is about what it’s worth, as it’s pretty thin gruel.

  8. @Sleeping Dog: FWIW, I have found the Athletic to be the best sport analysis around, especially for football during the season. The offseason, less so, but the only sport I want to read about on a truly regular basis is the NFL.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Perhaps I’m spoiled by being in the Boston market and have the benefit of sports coverage in the Globe and other outlets. For me The Athletic doesn’t cut it, but I can understand why others can have a different opinion.

  10. dazedandconfused says:


    Obviously Pence suspected they might take him someplace he didn’t want to go, but it’s highly unlikely it would’ve been to deliver him to a mob. How was that supposed to work? Kick him out of the car? There’s no way they could’ve imagined they could let Pence be killed without having to fight to the death to defend him themselves.

    However it’s easy to imagine them taking him to the White House and refusing to move him from there, which would stall the certification, and Pence was obviously not down with that.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    I ran across a definition of liberals that I like. The philosopher Judith Shklar defined liberals as people for whom, “cruelty is the worst thing we do”. She distinguished between avoiding sin as something we owe God and avoiding cruelty as something we owe ourselves and each other. I was reminded of it by Alexandra Petri’s heartfelt column in WAPO yesterday,

    When is a child not a child?

    A child is not a child when believing in her existence would force you to notice your own cruelty. When the story of a 10-year-old who had to cross state lines to end a pregnancy that was the product of rape, because the post-Roe laws in the state of Ohio are cruel enough to force birth on a child in her circumstances, is sufficiently monstrous that you want it to be unimaginable.

    I don’t know who first said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”, but he was right. And the forced birthers believe absurdities.

  12. CSK says:

    It’s possible that Trump gave an order to Ornato on one of those now-deleted texts to prevent Pence from going to the Capitol to certify the election.

    Beyond that, Trump did say that Pence deserved to be hanged.

  13. dazedandconfused says:


    I would guess it would be something between Ornato and Pence’s detail. Trump is careful about implicating himself with texts and emails, and Ornato, head of Trumps protection detail, is typically within shouting distance of Trump.

  14. CSK says:

    Yes. You’re right. Trump made a veiled suggestion to Ornato, and Ornato gave the instructions.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: The fact that Tony Ornato, while still holding a position as a Secret Service agent, served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Trump is so disturbing and bizarre I don’t think people even know what to do with it. The fact that he remains an agent and was transferred to the office closest to Trump’s residence just shows that whatever that cancer is, it hasn’t been cut out

  16. dazedandconfused says:


    Moreover, it would not have been to the head of Pence’s detail, who clearly was a friend of Pence. It would’ve been to someone in that extra-large detail Pence was given that day. If Ornato did by-pass the head of the detail to instruct one of that detail’s subordinates directly, and did not inform the head of the detail of that action, it’s an egregious break of protocol. Egregious breaks of protocol for SS security details are yuuuug no-nos. He would’ve felt a need to erase the evidence…come what may from it.

    I be guessin’

  17. CSK says:

    Indeed. One thing it does do, I think, is how absolutely Ornato commited himself to being Trump’s henchman.

  18. CSK says:

    Good guess, though.

  19. Mu Yixiao says:


    Caveat: I’ve been drinking (it’s the weekend, I’ve had a really bad week, and I’ve been up since 03:00–with very little sleep before that).

    The philosopher Judith Shklar defined liberals as people for whom, “cruelty is the worst thing we do”.

    Define “cruelty”*.

    No, I’m not being cheeky. Unless you can define “cruelty”–something that is very personal and often subjective*–it’s impossible to say whether or not that definition has validity.

    One of the problems the left has is that they don’t have solid delineations of what is right and wrong, and why it is right and wrong. It comes down to “Because we just know it is”. You can’t build a campaign on that.

    To echo Michael Reynolds: The left needs to step up and fight. They need to clearly define their goals, they need to be willing to get dirty (while staying clean), they need to stop playing defense and start targeting targets that need to be removed (electorally), and they need to understand “the human need for fear”.

    The left–especially progressives–keep leaning on “hope”. Humans aren’t built to follow hope–except when we’re afraid. We are built to fear. People don’t vote for their hopes; they vote against what they fear.

    The message can’t be “look how utopian we can be!”. It has to be “Republicans want to enslave you; We will save you.”

    And it has to be coherent, consolidated, coordinated, and able to be put on bumperstickers.

    Until Dems understand that, they’re going to continue losing battles that they should easily win.

    The Dems are bringing daisies to a Republican gunfight.

    * Forcing a 10-year-old rape victim to carry a child to term is, in my viewpoint, absolutely cruel. I would bloody my hands and break my phalanges to punish anyone who would force such a thing.

  20. Mu Yixiao says:

    Last Friday my (brand new) cardiologist changed one of my meds. I moved from the blood-thinner Brilinta to Plavix. This is great. I can take the Plavix once a day (in the morning with all my other meds), rather than having to worry about an evening dose.

    I started the Plavix on Saturday (with a “shock” dose of 4x) and on with the regular dose on Sunday.

    Since then, I’ve been having episodes of elevated heart rate (for no reason), and depressed blood pressure (like… 20-30 points down on both systolic and diastolic). I’m thinking 50-ish on the diastolic might not be good.

    Yesterday afternoon, I was fitted with a heart monitor. I’m to wear it for 48 hours. I can deal with the not being able to shower. I’m having difficulty with the fact that the chest-hair stubble is starting to itch (underneath the pads, where I can’t scratch), but trying to sleep with this damned thing is proving impossible.

    Kathy asked about “frustration dreams” a couple days ago. That was my entire night last night (when I was actually able to sleep). I’m afraid I’m going to pull off the leads. I’m afraid I’m going to roll onto my front–which results in incorrect readings. I’m afraid that I smell terrible because I’m not allowed to shower for 2 days.

    And more than anything, I’m afraid that this won’t find anything.

    I never thought “my own heart will betray me” would be anything more than a metaphor for a bad relationship.

  21. Kingdaddy says:

    When we talk about gun violence, we usually focus on the act of violence. The WaPo had a good article today about the painful, long, and expensive aftermath.

  22. senyordave says:

    What a shocker:
    US agencies temporarily barred from enforcing LGBTQ guidance
    A judge in Tennessee has temporarily barred two federal agencies from enforcing directives issued by President Joe Biden’s administration that extended protections for LGBTQ people in schools and workplaces.
    Give it a few years. It won’t just be gay marriage, it will be laws preventing workplace and housing discrimination. With this Supreme Court the dominos will fall. If you are LGBTQ+ you will find that you won’t be able to live in most of the south. Once they get rid of federal protections, I assume that a state like TN will pass laws saying that municipalities cannot have laws protecting LGBTQ+ people, and the Supreme Court will be fine with that.

  23. Jim Brown 32 says:

    This is politics…

    Blunt. Appeals to nature, the Bible, the Framers…a message to implant imagery in the minds of common folk not academics and politicos. Outdated style for today but the concepts are clear… the Aristocracy is dead. Give the people a fairer share or else grab your ankles and grit your teeth.

  24. Liberal Capitalist says:

    OK… some “good” conservatives are finally breaking with Trumpists.

    This 75-page report was release by conservatives after reviewing the facts of all the lies conspiracy theories and their conclusion: No, it wasn’t stolen. He lost.

    Their website (and overview):

    The report:

    The index is awesome, as it breaks it down by state and each state’s lies misguided conspiracy theories.

    Free to download and share.

  25. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    Thanks for the link. I had heard about this but not read the report itself.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jim Brown 32:..grab your ankles and grit your teeth.

    2 men who pepper-sprayed officers at the Capitol riot last year wept as a judge sentenced them to over 3 years in prison
    Two New York men wept as a judge handed down prison time for their participation in the Capitol riot last year.
    Cody Mattice, 29, and James Mault, 30, both received 44 months of prison time on Friday, according to records from the Justice Department. In April, the two pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement officers during the Capitol riot, a Justice Department release says.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Senator John Danforth

    Better late than never, I guess, but I lost my last ounce of respect for the man 6 years ago.

  28. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mister Bluster: Fresh meat on the cellblock!

    It wouldn’t be much different with the keyboard tough civil war secessionists either. These people are soft and would wilt at the first sign of resistance.

  29. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Steven L. Taylor:

    I listen to the Athletic NFL show podcast. Robert Mays is an excellent host and they typically go a little deeper into how football works than most outlets.

    One of the difficult things about following the NFL is finding good explanations of scheme/play design. Part of it is the culture of paranoia that surrounds NFL teams.

    wrt Mays: I much preferred the pod he had with Bill Barnwell when they were at Grantland. When Simmons left ESPN and created The Ringer, Barnwell was replaced by a dude who seemed like a Bayless-In-Training. Since then, that guy has improved, but not enough for me to listen to the show.

    I also recommend FootballOutsiders content.

  30. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    One of the problems the left has is that they don’t have solid delineations of what is right and wrong, and why it is right and wrong.

    I think you just don’t listen. You even quote someone with the nugget, but you don’t know what to make of it.

    The left in America has always had the following as its core: Less Suffering and Less Cruelty.

    And the right has always been: Punish Them.

    Every policy and every speech, from the abolitionists to a chicken in every pot to the pronoun police can be summarized with those two words: Less Cruelty.

    It’s not as catchy as Punish Them. It’s not as easy.

    I’ll give you my short interpretation of post-Civil War American politics: whoever lets you hate the Blacks dominates long term. FDR was able to get the New Deal because he benefited from the Democrats being the racist party. He had the racist vote behind him. The racist vote tends to move slower than policy, so it wasn’t gone until after the Civil Rights era.

    Bill Clinton needed his Sister Soulja moment to call out Black people and separate himself from the crazy that is Black. And he promised to end welfare as we know it, and pushed for a crime bill that was skewed against Black people under the guise of going after Super Predators.

    No Republican has to have a Marjorie Taylor Green moment to assure voters that they aren’t with the crazies, because the crazies are white.

    Obama followed the worst president in most Americans’ adult lives (at the time), and he spurred the Tea Party.

    Democrats need to pick someone and Punish Them. We need to crow about jailing the insurrectionists, and we need to prosecute Trump, his children and his hangers on. And a well-timed sacrifice of a Black pawn. Because America wants cruelty and racism.

  31. de stijl says:

    Imagine the uproar and conspiritorial nonsense if Ivana Trump was the ex-wifeof a D ex-president. Death by blunt force trauma to the torso?

    The rampant conjecture of malfeasance and outright murder and conspiracy would be off the fucking charts. Clinton murders × 10. Unironic speculation.

    Trump’s ex dies and it’s page 3 filler.

    Had parties been swapped this would have been the biggest story of the year.

  32. Mu Yixiao says:


    Y’all keep on preaching about a peaceful utopia where everything is beautiful… and watch people keep voting for the party that presents an evil to fight, and a way to defeat it. You’ll keep losing.

    To misquote Sean Connery from The Untouchables: “You brought a birthday cake to a gun fight?”

    If the Dems don’t get out in front of this and weaponize Dobbs, they deserve to lose. They’ve been handed a nuclear weapon. And–like Hiroshima and Nagasaki–it needs to be used to end the war.

    So… yes. Dems need to do the things you sarcastically suggested–or admit defeat and surrender.